How to manage your Home Care Package is a question we get asked a lot at CareAbout. It’s an important question to ask. There’s been a lot of discussion recently around whether self-managing your Home Care Package is better or worse than having a provider manage your Home Care Package. To make an informed decision it’s important to first define the difference between the two and understand what might be the right choice for you.

What is a Self-Managed Home Care Package?

First, it is important to know that everyone needs to have a government approved provider to manage their Home Care Package. The funding in the Home Care Package doesn’t go directly to you but is distributed through a Provider who accounts for the funds back to the government.

While it might be called Self-Managed, a truly Self-Managed Home Care Package doesn’t exist. The government still requires you to go through a government approved provider. Some Providers do offer a Self-Managed option but there are still admin and other fees involved. It is not possible to completely get rid of the ‘middle-person’.

If you Self-Manage your Home Care Package then you choose and find the services and supports you want, manage the scheduling and staffing of these supports and manage the budget.

Self-managing your package means you are responsible for the following:

  • Selecting independent support workers,
  • Self-scheduling your appointments and times
  • Manage your budget by choosing your services, provider and frequency of support

To successfully self-manage your Home Care Package, it’s important that you are confident and comfortable managing staff and giving them direction and feedback.

It’s also important to note that if you run into any issues with staff, you must be confident that you can manage any potential conflict. Without a provider managing your Home Care Package you will need to manage this yourself.

What is a Provider Managed Home Care Package?

Having your Home Care Package managed by a provider means that everything is done for you. They manage and coordinate all of the supports and services and ensure they can be delivered safely by qualified carers.

The provider will:

  • ensure workers are properly trained and can meet your needs
  • develop a personalised care plan
  • work with you to set goals
  • recommend service types that may benefit you
  • give you advice on how to spend your funding
  • closely monitor your health and progress
  • modify your care plan & services if your needs change
  • book and schedule your care workers
  • manage and resolve any conflicts with care workers or other staff

If a Provider manages your Home Care Package, they are responsible for the following:

  • Assigning you a care manager and establishing a Care Plan and a budget
  • Employing or sourcing quality support workers (including background and qualification checks)
  • Administration activities; scheduling carers, managing your package funds, invoicing

These activities incur a fee and different Providers will charge different amounts depending on what they offer and how they help customers. It’s always good to know what the fees a Provider charges and what it means you get as far as service and support.

What about the Home Care Package Guidelines?

There are guidelines on what you can and can’t use for your Home Care Package. And yes, these are referred to as the Home Care Package Guidelines. The Home Care Package Guidelines lists what you can spend your funding on and what is covered by other support services such as Medicare.

For example, a common question is in relation to meal services and whether food can be included. In short:

  • Preparation and delivery of meals can be included
  • the raw food part of those means cannot be included.

So you can see the Guidelines are important! The Home Care Package Guidelines also refer to the responsibilities of the Provider, the Charter of Aged Care Rights and Consumer Directed Care. All essential aspects of the Home Care Package program and how it is delivered.

A Home Care Provider will ensure that your funds meet the Home Care Package Guidelines.

Do the guidelines change if I am in Melbourne, Sydney or Perth?

Home Care Packages in Melbourne are under the same guidelines as Home Care Packages in Sydney or Home Care Packages in Perth. Home Care Packages are funded by the federal government and the Home Care Package Guidelines apply no matter what state you live in.

What’s right for me? Self-manage or provider-manage? Take our Quiz!

If you have a lot of time and you’re good with managing people, self-managing your Home Care Package might be the best option for you.

Take the quiz!

If you’ve decided to give self-management a go, make sure you’ve thought about what happens when your chosen carer is sick or away on holiday. Ensure you have a plan in place, otherwise you could spend hours trying to find a replacement, with no control over the fees you might be charged for receiving urgent, last-minute support.

What’s important to know is that you can change how your Home Care Package managed. You are in control!

If you’re still unsure whether Self-Managed or Provider-Managed is the right option for you, give CareAbout a call today and speak to a Home Care Package expert.